Schumer, Lowey, Crowley Secure $62 Million For New Air Traffic Control Tower At LGA To Reduce Flight Delays And Improve Safety
Current Control Tower at LGA is Outmoded, has Decades Old Technology and Views that Are Blocked By Nearby Terminal
When Funding Designated for a New Air Traffic Control Tower Was Set to Expire, Schumer, Lowey and Crowley Aggressively Lobbied for Congressional Approval of Funds
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, and Congressman Joseph Crowley announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given final approval for $62 million for a new air traffic control tower at LaGuardia Airport. Schumer, Lowey and Crowley said the new tower will help ease crippling flight delays at the airport and help controllers manage traffic on the runways in order to prevent more near aircraft collisions. The current control tower at LaGuardia Airport is dilapidated, leaks water, and is equipped with outdated technology and plagued by visibility problems due to a nearby terminal that partially blocks its view. The Senate Appropriations Committee weighed in on the need for the reprogrammed funds for the tower in the Senate TTHUD Appropriations bill report this past July. The House Appropriations Committee sent a letter to the FAA this past week requesting that funding be approved for the LaGuardia control tower. The projects funding was set to expire by the end of the fiscal year.
This funding for a new air traffic control tower at LaGuardia Airport is now more important than ever, said Senator Schumer. Growing at an unprecedented rate and serving 26 million passengers, LaGuardia is a critical transportation hub, and now it can make the necessary upgrades to guarantee that every step is being taken to provide the best possible airport safety and efficiency measures
The current tower at LaGuardia presents many safety concerns and limitations, and I am pleased that funds in the Aviation Trust Fund will be allocated to get this project started, said Congresswoman Lowey. With dramatic increases in air traffic, this new tower is essential to help ease crippling flight delays at the airport and manage traffic on the runways more efficiently.
This funding to replace the outmoded and deteriorating air traffic control tower will greatly improve air safety at LaGuardia Airport for the millions of passengers and neighborhoods around the busy airport, said Congressman Crowley. This badly needed modernization will not mean additional flights, and I will continue working with the Federal Aviation Authority in designating new flight patterns so fewer jets fly over populated neighborhoods. I thank Senator Chuck Schumer and Congresswoman Nita Lowey for their consistent work in helping to secure funds for this critical project to improve safety at LaGuardia.
The LaGuardia tower project has been in development for the past 15 years, but with dramatic increases in air traffic projected for the near future and the current air traffic tower physically falling apart, the new tower is needed now more than ever. This past July, the Senate Appropriations Committee weighed in on the need for the reprogrammed funds for the tower in the Senate TTHUD Appropriations bill report. Last week, the House Appropriations Committee sent a letter to the FAA requesting that the funding be approved for the LaGuardia control tower.
The final plan for the new air traffic control tower includes a replacement of the aging 42 yearold control tower and the ability to install a Category II Instrument Approach, which allows aircraft to land during periods of inclement weather. Overall, the new tower is essential to reduce delays and improve safety on the ground and in the skies. In November 2005, the last month for which data was available, only 62 percent of flights in to LGA arrived and 77 percent left on time.
The current tower at LaGuardia is plagued by many safety concerns and limitations including visibility problems due to the US Airways terminal obstructing its view of certain taxiways. Not having an aircraft in sight visually from the tower compromises the efficiency and the safety of the airport. The size and capability of the current tower are also major liabilities as they make it very difficult to install new technical equipment, depriving air traffic controllers of the best available equipment for aviation safety. In addition, the constant installation and removal of equipment from the towers roof and the decrepit state of the towers structure have caused leaks to develop inside the tower itself. Over the past 2 years, leaks have forced air traffic controllers to install tarps directly above their heads. On numerous occasions, water has leaked onto the equipment and the controllers, interrupting operations and compromising the safety and efficiency of air traffic operations.